Testosterone is a hormone that assists with many of the body’s functions, but it primarily plays a key role in a man’s sexual desire and assists with sexual response. Hence, it’s understandable that research has found that a man’s testosterone levels are elevated when he is around women he finds attractive. It’s his body’s way of initiating courtship behavior and preparing him for the potential of intercourse.
However, a new study has found that a man’s testosterone levels do not rise when the woman in question is married to his buddy.
Researchers at the University of Missouri tested men’s testosterone levels before and after the men spent time with their friends’ wives. Their findings, which are published in the journal Human Nature, found that men’s hormones levels actually declined after they spent time with their buddies’ spouses or girlfriends. Regardless of whether they found the woman in question attractive or if they believed that they had a “shot” at hooking up with her, their testosterone levels went down across the board.
What can explain this dip in testosterone, and what does it mean for your man’s fidelity and friendships?
The researchers theorize that this decrease could have been nature’s way of ensuring peacefulness and equanimity among early man. Thousands and thousands of years ago, a man’s ultimate task was to compete for mates and secure the survival of the species. Men went to any lengths to accomplish this, and testosterone played a key role. Research shows that testosterone is linked to more aggressive behavior as well as a higher libido, and it’s easy to see how this was useful to early man as he tried to pass down his genes to the next generation.
However, humans also often had to live together and work together in groups in order to have food, shelter, and safety. These situations were intimate and symbiotic, and it was imperative that groups of men could get along for the good of the group as well as the good of the individual. Tribes would clearly become complicated if a man started to make move on his tribemate’s partner, especially because in those days, couples couldn’t simply get a pregnancy test or go on the Maury show! Men wanted to know that the children they were risking their lives to provide for were their own blood, and they also wanted to feel secure in their standing within their tribe and among their close male friends.
Perhaps all of this could help to explain why a man’s testosterone dips around his buddies’ friends. It’s nature’s way of helping to ensure that close buddies don’t try to compete for the same mates, or that they aren’t tempted to engage in infidelity with their friend’s sexy wife.
We might not live together in the same cave as a tribe, but the “bro code” (in which you never hit on a buddy’s wife or girlfriend) still has a place in modern society. Good to know!